Review: Atomic Habits by James Clear

James Clear has written a book about habit building that is simple, easy to understand and full of proven strategies for success. This review will explore the ideas contained in the book.

“Atomic Habits” is a book written by James Clear. It’s about habits, and how to make them work for you. The author has created a habit tracker that helps the reader keep track of their progress in making new habits.

Who is James Clear, exactly?

Denison University alumni James Clear is a New York Times bestselling author and sought-after speaker on the subjects of habit development and growth. Clear has taught thousands of executives and professionals some of the principles contained in this book via his training platform, The Habit Academy. Clear has become a well-known voice on the issues of long-term development and habit formation, with millions of monthly visits to his website.

James Clear is well-known for his ability to explain difficult concepts in a straightforward manner. I’m excited to share some of them with you here.


What Will Atomic Habits Teach You?

Four Behavior Change Laws (And Their Inverse For Bad Habits)

Clear introduces us to his paradigm for forming healthy habits, as well as its opposite for breaking bad ones, in Atomic Habits. The Four Laws of Behavior Change, as he calls them.

“The Four Laws of Behavior Change are a straightforward set of guidelines for developing improved behaviors. (1) Make it clear, (2) make it appealing, (3) make it simple, and (4) make it gratifying.”

Page 55 of Clear

To remedy problematic behaviors, Clear divides the book into eight chapters: four for each law and four for each rule’s inverse (make it invisible, unattractive, difficult, unsatisfying, respectively).

Habitat Formation And Environment

The influence of your environment and surrounds on your conduct is one of the themes that Clear explores throughout the book. He specifically addressed the idea that some individuals are stronger at resisting temptation than others. 

While it may seem that way on the surface, he goes into depth on how these individuals may be leveraging their surroundings to aid them.

“When scientists look at people who seem to have a lot of self-control, they find that they’re not all that different from those who struggle. Instead, “disciplined” individuals are more adept at organizing their life in ways that do not need extraordinary determination and self-control. In other words, they spend less time in settings that are appealing.”

Page 93 of Clear

As a result, the persons who were shown to resist temptation the best were also those who were in the least appealing settings.

Instant Gratification vs. The Battle

Our drive for quick satisfaction is one of the most difficult challenges to building healthy habits. We expect to see effects quite fast if we start exercising more often, reading more, eating better, and so on. When we don’t, we get disheartened and are more likely to abandon our newly acquired habit. While most publications fail to address this problem, Clear presents a straightforward illustration in respect to the time of observable outcomes.

“The compound interest of self-improvement is habits.” The consequences of your behaviors expand as you repeat them, much as money does via compound interest. They may seem little on any one day, but their cumulative influence over months and years may be huge. It’s only when you look back two, five, or 10 years that you realize how valuable good habits are and how costly poor habits are.”

pg.16 of Clear

The influence of your behaviors, in this comparison, is less of a straight line and instead grows steeper as it approaches a tipping point. This might resemble a compound interest graph of someone’s investment account. Clear is an example of the “tipping moment” that I stated before.

“Pretend you’re seated at a table with an ice cube in front of you. You can see your breath in the frigid room. It is now 25 degrees outside. Slowly but steadily, the room warms up. 26 degrees Celsius. Twenty-seven. Twenty-eight. The ice cube in front of you is still on the table. 29 degrees Celsius. Thirty. Thirty-one… Then there’s 32 degrees. The ice is starting to thaw. A one-degree adjustment, apparently unrelated to previous rises, has unleashed a massive shift.”

Page 20 of Clear

The Connection Between Your Habits And Your Personality

The link Clear makes between your everyday habits and your identity is one of my favorite aspects of the book. According to Clear, our urge to modify our behaviors stems from a desire to change who we are rather than what we do. 

When we say, “I want to make my bed every morning,” for example. We truly mean “become the sort of person who does it,” or “become an organized person.” Furthermore, since our identities change over time, every action we do (or do not take) is a symbolic vote for the identity we will choose. Our mind then interprets that vote as a recommendation, and when determining our identity, it simply chooses the one with the greatest evidence (most votes).

“Every action you do is a vote for the person you want to be.” No one incidence will change your thinking, but the proof of your new identity will grow as the votes accumulate.”

Page 38 of Clear

Now that you understand that every action you do counts as a vote for the person you become, you should endeavor to vote correctly the majority of the time.

“To win an election, you don’t need a unanimous vote; you only need a majority.” It makes no difference if you vote a few times for terrible behavior…the aim is to win the majority of the time.”

Page 39 of Clear

  1. Make a decision on the kind of person you want to be.
  2. One vote at a time will get you there.

Final Score: 9.6/10

I appreciate reading books on habit and habit building because I feel that you are only as good as your everyday behaviors. Anyone devoted to everyday development should read Atomic Habits.

James Clear shares his Four Laws of Behavior Change with us. This strategy shows you how to cultivate the positive behaviors we need while eliminating the negative ones we don’t. Clear explains habit development in a straightforward and understandable manner, using real-life situations.

Improving your habits, whether in your physical health, professional career, or any other aspect of your life, is the key to long-term success. Atomic Habits is a must-read for all entrepreneurs and anybody looking to improve their personal or professional life.

Here you may compare prices for the book and buy it. Also, if you loved this article, you’ll appreciate my review of Brendon Burchard’s High-Performance Habits.

The “Atomic Habits review reddit” is a book by James Clear that discusses how to form habits. The book has received positive reviews from readers and was published in 2016. Reference: atomic habits review reddit.

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